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Are they ready? Moderators of the correlation between work affect and job satisfaction felt by teachers of inclusive and special schools

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health psychology report ·  original article background The study aimed to determine to what extent emotions experienced at work are predictors of the level of teach-ers' job satisfaction. The moderating role of the type of school-inclusive and special-for this correlation was also analysed. participants and procedure The study involved 214 teachers at three levels of inclusive and special schools (primary, middle and high) attended by pupils with special educational needs. The respondents represented various age groups. The study used the Work Affect Scale and the Satisfaction with Job Scale. results The results clearly suggest that the emotions teachers experience at work are a strong predictor of their job satisfaction positive emotions imply high job satisfaction whereas negative emotions imply low job satisfaction. This regularity exists in both the responding teacher groups. It was determined that the type of an institution does not significantly affect the above predictive attribute of organizational work affect. conclusions Positive work-related emotions and average and high job satisfaction felt by ca. 2/3 of the responding inclusive and special school teachers suggest that both these groups are fully ready for high-quality education for all. key words inclusive education; job satisfaction; work affect; special schools Wojciech Otrębski id Are they ready? Moderators of the correlation between work affect and job satisfaction felt by teachers of inclusive and special schools
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health psychology report · 
original article
background
The study aimed to determine to what extent emotions
experienced at work are predictors of the level of teach-
ers’ job satisfaction. The moderating role of the type of
school inclusive and special for this correlation was
also analysed.
participants and procedure
The study involved 214 teachers at three levels of inclusive
and special schools (primary, middle and high) aended
by pupils with special educational needs. The respondents
represented various age groups. The study used the Work
Aect Scale and the Satisfaction with Job Scale.
results
The results clearly suggest that the emotions teachers ex-
perience at work are a strong predictor of their job sat-
isfaction positive emotions imply high job satisfaction
whereas negative emotions imply low job satisfaction. This
regularity exists in both the responding teacher groups. It
was determined that the type of an institution does not
significantly aect the above predictive aribute of orga-
nizational work aect.
conclusions
Positive work-related emotions and average and high job
satisfaction felt by ca. 2/3 of the responding inclusive and
special school teachers suggest that both these groups are
fully ready for high-quality education for all.
key words
inclusive education; job satisfaction; work aect; special
schools
Wojciech Otrębski id
Are they ready? Moderators of the correlation
between work aect and job satisfaction
felt by teachers of inclusive and special schools
 – Institute of Psychology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
’  – A: Study design · B: Data collection · C: Statistical analysis · D: Data interpretation ·
E: Manuscript preparation · F: Literature search · G: Funds collection
 Wojciech Otrębski, Ph.D., Institute of Psychology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin,
Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland, e-mail: otrebski@kul.pl
    – Otrębski, W. (2022). Are they ready? Moderators of the correlation between work aect and
job satisfaction felt by teachers of inclusive and special schools. Health Psychology Report. hps://doi.org/10.5114/
hpr.2022.114372
 17.12.2021 ·  03.01.2022 ·  23.02.2022 ·  14.03.2022
Wojciech Otrębski
2  
Background
For more than half acentury, many countries across
the world have undertaken numerous measures, stud-
ies, and analyses in order to identify the best ways to
promote the activity and participation of children,
youth, and adults with various special needs in social
life. One of the rst specic instruments was the law
established in 1950s in Denmark and Sweden with the
aim to “make available to all mentally retarded peo-
ple paerns of life and conditions of everyday living
which are as close as possible to the regular circum-
stances and ways of life of asociety” (Bak-Mikkelsen,
1980; Nirje, 1960; as quoted in Emmerson, 1998, p. 2).
It is beer known as the “idea of normalisation” of
the life of all individuals with functional limitations,
and as such, it quickly spread across the world. More
than three decades ago, the “idea of normalisation”
also permeated education, rst as early intervention/
stimulation in young children diagnosed with de-
velopmental disorders and then to higher stages of
education of pupils with special educational needs.
Currently, it is also present in post-secondary educa-
tion, i.e. students with intellectual disability aend
colleges together with their peers without disabil-
ity (Grigal &Hart, 2010; Madaus etal., 2021). In the
early stages, the idea of normalisation in education
focused mainly on integration in education, but over
the years, it was determined that such organisational
form does not ensure full participation in social life
to all. e next step, which is the current trend, was
inclusive education. A great part of the literature of
the subject suggests that “inclusion is oen associat-
ed with students who have impairments or students
seen as having special educational needs. However,
inclusion is about the education of all children and
young people” (Booth &Ainscow, 2011, p. 1).
Ensuring high quality education for all in inclu-
sive schools, where students with and without dis-
ability pursue their educational needs together, is
a major challenge for many European educational
systems (Booth &Ainscow, 2011; Kefallinou &Don-
nelly, 2019). According to the Polish Ministry of Edu-
cation and Science, in 2022, more than 70% of pupils
with special educational needs aended inclusive
primary and secondary schools and less than 30%
were enrolled in special schools (MEN, 2022). ese
data clearly suggest that inclusive education is be-
coming afact and consideration should be given to
educational measures that will yield the best results
for all the individuals who constitute the human
capital of inclusive educational institutions (Hughes
etal., 2020; Walczak, 2011).
is trend in the European system of education in-
dicates the priority directions for scientic research
and analyses needed to support the implementing
measures undertaken by the respective countries
within the model of “high quality education for all
learners” that will guarantee normalisation of life for
children, youth and adults in terms of their educa-
tion. In response to this need, anumber of studies
have been undertaken to identify various (institu-
tional and personal) indicators of the readiness of
mainstream educational institutions to provide high
quality education for all learners (Kessel etal., 2021;
Kranzler etal., 2020).
is report presents the results of one of such
study, the goal of which was to explain to what ex-
tent emotions experienced at work are a predictor
of the level of teacher job satisfaction. An analysis
of the distribution of the results for the studied vari-
ables among inclusive and special school teachers
was also supposed to show how well prepared they
are to work with a diversied classroom, especially
in an inclusive educational institution. Moreover, the
moderator role of the type of school inclusive or
special – for this correlation was analysed.
THEORETICAL CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
Szumski (2019, p. 15) explains that “inclusive educa-
tion is not ahomogeneous theoretical and practical
conception, but dierent ways of its understanding
complement each other. In contemporary special
education anotion of inclusive education is used in
a descriptive and prescriptive meaning. In the rst
meaning, it is aform of common learning of students
with and without disability in one classroom. In the
laer, inclusive education is aproject of school sys-
tem reform, which aims to build a common, high-
quality school for all students”. Inclusive education
diers from non-inclusive education in that it oers
access to mainstream schools to all pupils and bal-
anced educational aims, ensures harmonious devel-
opment of the students, specialized support, school
sta cooperating with each other, and auniversally
designed curriculum (Szumski, 2019).
e specicity of inclusive education is also ex-
plained through the fact that it had been for along
time perceived as aspecic organization (Grith,
2006; Handy, 1986; Perkowska-Klejman & Górka-
Strzałkowska, 2016). A closer look within this trend
of analysis would require exploring the concept of
diversity management and the possible benets of
this diversity for the eectiveness of the organiza-
tion (Kirton &Greene, 2010). e specicity of in-
clusive educational institutions is due to the fact
that their human capital comprises not only the di-
versity of personnel but also the diversity of pupils
(with and without disability) and of the social en-
vironment (parents of pupils). e results of exist-
ing research clearly suggest that such diversity may
be benecial for school as an organization (Kirton
&Greene, 2010) as well as for every individual that
constitutes its human capital (Blecker & Boakes,
Work aect
and job
satisfaction felt
by the teachers
3

2010; Marciniak-Parocka, 2017; Most &Ingber, 2016;
Ruijs, 2017).
Recently, inclusive education has been the object
of various theoretical deliberations and scientic
studies. A number of studies from dierent countries
focus on the aitudes of teachers towards inclusive
education (Avramidis etal., 2000; Avramidis &Nor-
wich, 2002; de Boer etal., 2011; Lifshitz etal., 2004;
Rakap &Kaczmarek, 2010), and of parents (Marci-
niak-Paprocka, 2017; Most &Ingber, 2016). Also, the
parent evaluation of the inclusive education pro-
cess is examined (Gallagher etal., 2000; Peck etal.,
2004). Results of research on the eects of inclusive
education for pupils with and without disability
are also available (Black-Hawkins et al., 2007; Des-
semontet etal., 2012; Donelly & Kefallinou, 2018;
Peetsma et al., 2001; Ruijs & Peetsma, 2009; Ruijs,
2017; Szumski &Firkowska-Mankiewicz, 2010; Wią-
cek, 2008). ere are also analyses of teacher compe-
tencies (Chrzanowska, 2018) and of the opportuni-
ties and barriers of inclusive education as seen by
teachers (Chrzanowska, 2019). Studies and analyses
of inclusive education also discuss, to alimited ex-
tent, the emotions that teachers experience at work
and, more frequently, their job satisfaction (Blecker
&Boakes, 2010; Cheng &Ren, 2010; Lalagka, 2017;
Wiącek, 2008).
Based on a literature review, Mielniczuk and
Łaguna (2018, p. 2) note that “the interest in aect in
the organizational context is increasing, since there
is growing evidence that emotional reactions are
connected with rational decision making, as well as
with health and dierent work outcomes”. Accord-
ingly, new research reports are published that ex-
plain the share of emotions in job performance and
describe the eects they cause (Baka, 2015; Laguna
etal., 2017b; Laguna et al., 2021; Yang et al., 2020).
Of the many concepts and methodologies for mea-
suring work related aect, the most frequently used
is Warr’s job-related aective well-being measure,
which is designed to assess 4 types of aect at work:
anxiety, comfort, depression, enthusiasm (Warr,
1990). e tool to describe emotions experienced in
the workplace was extensively adapted by the inter-
national team led by Laguna (Laguna etal., 2017a,
2019; Mielniczuk &Łaguna, 2018). e results of their
work prove that the model used in this study, namely
the model with four correlated factors, representing
anxiety, comfort, depression, and enthusiasm, had
a superior t compared to alternative models and
that mean scores on the scales of the instrument can
be meaningfully compared across genders, but not
across countries.
Generally speaking, work contentment may be
said to be an aitude. It means either the inner state
or the individual’s impression of how good or bad
the work they do is for them. Currently, job satisfac-
tion measurements and analyses focus on two cor-
responding components, that is, emotional and cog-
nitive aspects. What we refer to as job satisfaction
constitutes the cognitive aspects of being content
with one’s work. Emotional aspects are the emotion-
al evaluation of work, one’s mood or frame of mind
at work (Zalewska, 2003). Such understanding of job
satisfaction is in line with the transactional model of
subjective well-being proposed by Zalewska (2004),
in which job satisfaction is treated as a category
of overall life satisfaction. is model emphasizes
the distinctiveness of the respective emotional and
cognitive evaluation and it assumes that the quali-
ties (resources) of aperson modify the signicance
of inner and outer factors as well as the processing
of emotional and cognitive information (Zalewska,
2009).
Job satisfaction is said to be the predictor of job
performance (Park et al., 2021; Zalewska, 2004;
Zhang &Zheng, 2009). e category of job satisfac-
tion is gaining popularity in assessments of work
contentment among teachers/educators in inclusive
schools (Burns &Machin, 2013; Lalagka, 2017; To-
ropova etal., 2021; Wang et al., 2017), as well as in
special schools (Platsidou &Agaliotis, 2008).
In this context, the main theoretical research
model was based on the assumption that the type
of an educational institution is the moderator of the
correlation between work aect and job satisfaction
(Figure 1).
e following main research question was asked:
To what extent does the type of the educational in-
stitution (inclusive vs. special school) moderate the
correlation between teachers’ work aect and job
satisfaction?
Based on the state of knowledge, the following
hypotheses were also made:
H.1. Positive work aect is positively and statis-
tically signicantly correlated with job satisfaction
while negative aect is negatively and statistically
signicantly correlated with job satisfaction.
H.2. Work aect is astrong predictor of job sat-
isfaction.
H.3. e type of the educational institution mod-
erates the correlation between work aect and job
satisfaction.
Inclusive/special school
Work aect Job satisfaction
Figure 1
Theoretical research model (type of educational insti-
tution)
Wojciech Otrębski
4  
Partici Pants and Procedure
PARTICIPANTS
e respondents were 214 teachers, half of them
from mainstream schools and the other half from
special schools; the majority of them (90.00%) were
women. ey worked in dierent school levels
(primary schools, middle schools, high schools),
mostly (84.10%) in large cities. e study included
both beginner teachers (minimum age was 28 years)
and teachers in the late stage of their profession-
al career (maximum age was 62 years). e mean
age of the inclusive school teachers and the spe-
cial school teachers was M =45.40 and M= 46.30,
respectively. Years of service ranged from 4 to
38-40 years; the means were M=19.83 and M=21.38
(Table 1).
RESEARCH TOOLS
Two methods were used: the Work Aect Scale by
Warr (1990) and the Satisfaction with Job Scale by
Zalewska (2003). e respective groups were de-
scribed using the author’s original demographic
data survey.
e Work Aect Scale was adapted to the Pol-
ish context by Mielniczuk and Łaguna (2018). e
scale consists of twelve emotions that describe the
respondent’s mood in their workplace. Six of them
are positive emotions (quiet, pleased, relaxed, joy-
ful, enthusiastic, optimistic), and the other six are
negative emotions (tense, anxious, upset, down-
cast, sombre, unhappy). e respondent is asked to
specify how oen they have experienced the above
emotions at work in the last few weeks on the Lik-
ert-type scale from 1 (never) to 6 (always). e re-
sults enable overall evaluation of the positive aect/
negative aect indicator and the 4 types of aect at
work: anxiety, comfort, depression, enthusiasm.
e Satisfaction with Job Scale (Zalewska, 2003)
allows the cognitive aspect of overall job satisfac-
tion to be measured. It consists of 5 statements rated
by respondents on a7-level scale from 1 (I strongly
disagree) to 7 (I strongly agree). e result is the sum
of scores for the 5 test items; the higher the score,
the higher is the job satisfaction.
e internal reliability of the scale is high in
the heterogeneous group; Cronbach’s α is .86. e
scale shows high convergent validity with other
measures of the cognitive aspect of job satisfaction
and discriminant validity in relation to measures
of emotional aspects of job satisfaction and to the
cognitive aspect of overall life satisfaction (Zalew-
ska, 2003).
DATA ANALYSES
Statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS
soware. e state of the analysed variables in the
respective groups and subgroups was described
using the mean, standard deviation and the distri-
bution of frequency and percentages. e respec-
tive groups’ mean values were analysed using the
t-test and correlations with Pearson’s r coecient.
e theoretical model of moderation was tested by
means of Hayes’ (2017) macro PROCESS version
3.4.1.
Table 1
Selected demographic characteristics
Inclusive schools Special schools
f%f%
Gender Female 93 86.90 93 86.90
Male 14 13.10 14 13.10
Place of residence Village 9 8.40 11 10.30
Town 8 7.50 6 5.60
City 90 84.10 90 84.10
Inclusive schools Special schools
M SD Min Max M SD Min Max
Age 45.40 8.49 29 62 46.30 6.86 28 60
Years of service 19.83 8.79 4 40 21.38 7.00 4 38
Note. f – frequency.
Work aect
and job
satisfaction felt
by the teachers
5

results
DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIABLES
IN THE RESPECTIVE GROUPS OF RESPONDENTS
e analysis of respondents’ emotions experienced in
relation to their work in inclusive or special schools
yields very interesting information. In general, their
positive aect is much stronger than negative aect;
the eect size is large (Table 2). e type of school is
asignicant dierentiating factor only with respect
to enthusiasm. e inclusive school teachers are
much more enthusiastic about their work than those
in special schools; in this case, too, the eect size is
large (Table 3).
For the job satisfaction variable, it was noted
that the job satisfaction is average for the respond-
ing teachers, both from inclusive schools and spe-
cial schools. e mean values for the two groups are
very similar: M=25.69 and M=25.41, respectively.
Meanwhile, the type of educational institution is not
adierentiating factor for the responding groups in
terms of job satisfaction (Table 3). In general, it seems
that the responding teachers do not see their job as
close to the ideal, consider their working conditions
to be average, and do not always manage to achieve
the goals they set for themselves in the work they do
at the moment.
An analysis of bilateral correlations between the
work aect and job satisfaction variables conrmed
an average positive correlation between job satisfac-
tion and positive work aect (p .01) and positive
emotions such as comfort (p .01) and enthusiasm
(p≤.01), and an average negative correlation between
job satisfaction and negative work aect (p.01) and
negative emotion such as anxiety (p ≤ .01) and de-
pression (p ≤ .01) in the mainstream school teachers
group. In the group of special school teachers, the
correlation indicators are slightly higher (Table4).
WORK AFFECT AND SELECTED
DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES AS PREDICTORS
OF JOB SATISFACTION
e predictive power of job satisfaction was tested
with respect to work aect and selected demograph-
ic variables using linear regression analysis. e
linear model proposed was statistically signicant
F(5,206)=16.89, p=.001 and explained 27.3% of the
Table 3
Dierentiation with respect to job satisfaction and work aect between the respective groups
Inclusive schools Special schools Test of significance
M SD Min Max M SD Min Max t p
Job satisfaction 25.69 5.21 5 35 25.41 4.56 16 35 0.42 .680
Positive aect 24.32 4.94 11 36 23.09 5.57 12 36 1.71 .090
Negative aect 12.64 4.12 6 28 13.59 5.08 6 36 –1.51 .130
Anxiety 7.38 2.50 3 14 7.92 3.06 3 18 –1.41 .160
Comfort 11.78 2.60 4 18 11.31 2.76 6 18 1.25 .210
Depression 5.25 2.01 3 15 5.67 2.41 3 18 –1.36 .180
Enthusiasm 12.54 2.66 6 18 11.77 3.13 5 18 1.93 .050*
Note. *eect size, Cohen’s d = 2.90.
Table 2
Within-group dierences between positive and negative aect
M SD t p d
Inclusive schools Positive aect 24.32 4.94 14.83 .001 8.15
Negative aect 12.64 4.12
Special schools Positive aect 23.09 5.57 10.39 .001 9.36
Negative aect 13.59 5.08
Wojciech Otrębski
6  
variance of the explained variable. Of all predictors
considered, only positive aect proved to be astatisti-
cally signicant predictor of job satisfaction (p=.001),
with the relationship between these two variables
being positive and moderate (β=.48): the higher the
positive aect, the higher the job satisfaction (Table5).
e regression model with positive aect as apre-
dictor of job satisfaction is statistically signicant,
F(3, 103)=5.70, p=.001, and accounts for 14.2% of
the variance of the explained variable. In contrast,
the model of moderation is statistically non-signi-
cant, F(1, 103)=0.42, p=.510, the β coecient=.19
[CI: –.26, .51]. erefore, the type of school does not
change either the strength or the direction of the as-
sociation between positive aect and job satisfaction
(∆R2 =.00).
discussion
e goal of this study was to empirically verify the
constructed theoretical model, to test the hypotheses
and to describe the predictive scope of work aect
on the level of job satisfaction among inclusive and
special school teachers, and to determine the extent
to which the type of an educational institution mod-
erates the correlation between the studied variables.
e mean values of most variables are similar be-
tween teachers in inclusive and special schools; an
exception is enthusiasm, which is felt more strongly
by the inclusive school teachers. ey also suggest
that the positive aect (emotions: comfort, enthusi-
asm) are felt much more strongly than the negative
aect (emotions: anxiety and depression). e mean
results for job satisfaction of the responding teachers
are average. Such distribution of the studied variables
suggests that the responding teachers may avoid the
high level of stress that is frequently reported in their
professional group (Forlin, 2001) and the consequent
occupational burnout (Burić et al., 2021; Tucholska,
2003).
e rst two hypotheses – H.1: Positive work af-
fect is positively and statistically signicantly cor-
related with job satisfaction while negative aect is
negatively and statistically signicantly correlated
with job satisfaction, and H.2: Work aect is astrong
predictor of job satisfaction – were to alarge extent
conrmed. An analysis of the correlations proved the
expected positive and negative correlations between
the variables in each of the responding groups. e as-
sumption that work aect is astrong predictor of job
satisfaction scores in the responding groups was only
conrmed for the positive aect. It may be stated that
the domination of positive emotions in the respond-
ing teachers and the strong predictive value of those
emotions with respect to job satisfaction may yield
equally positive eects in job performance as the ones
formerly described in studies on various employee
groups (Baka, 2015; Bono etal., 2007; Brief &Weiss,
2002; Laguna etal., 2017b, 2021; Yang etal., 2020).
e last of the hypotheses – H.3: e type of an
educational institution serve as a moderator in the
work aect and job satisfaction correlation – was
not conrmed. e type of an educational institution
(inclusive vs. special school) does not moderate the
correlation between work aect and job satisfaction.
e study has some limitations that need to be con-
sidered. One of them is associated with the unavail-
Table 5
Predictors of job satisfaction
Job satisfaction
βt p
Positive aect .48 6.49 .001
Negative aect –.09 –1.28 .200
Gender –.08 –1.38 .170
Age .14 1.02 .310
Years of service .02 0.17 .870
R2 = .27, F(5, 206) = 16.89, p = .001
Table 4
Correlation coeicients between job satisfaction and work aect and their significance
Inclusive schools
Positive aect Negative aect Anxiety Comfort Depression Enthusiasm
SJS .37** –.34** –.27** .35** –.37** .35**
Special school
Positive aect Negative aect Anxiety Comfort Depression Enthusiasm
SJS .65** –.41** –.40** .61** –.35** .61**
Note. SJS – Satisfaction with Job Scale; **p ≤ .01.
Work aect
and job
satisfaction felt
by the teachers
7

ability of information about what types of disabilities
pupils in inclusive and special schools had. Know-
ing that is important as teaching high-functioning
pupils with motor disabilities is less demanding and
stressful than low-functioning pupils with profound
developmental disabilities. e locations of schools,
which are unaccounted for in this study, should also
be considered in future research. Schools in big cit-
ies tend to have beer specialist teaching equipment
than those in rural areas or small towns. e un-
availability of such equipment may aect the level
of job satisfaction felt by teachers. Also included in
future research should be subjective assessments of
the school environment made by pupils with special
educational needs, as this approach is increasingly
present in most recent published research reports
(Rodríguez Gudiño etal., 2022; Toropova etal., 2021).
Positive work-related emotions and average and
high job satisfaction felt by ca. 2/3 of the inclusive
and special school teachers surveyed suggest that
both these groups are ready for high-quality educa-
tion for all (Candeias etal., 2021; Chrzanowska, 2019;
Szumski &Firkowska-Mankiewicz, 2010).
An important implication of this study for the lead-
ership of inclusive and special schools is that it under-
scores the importance of recognising teachers’ needs
and responding to early signs of low job satisfaction,
especially those arising from the poor organization of
teamwork or the insuciency of teaching aids.
eth ical aPProval
e research was approved by the Commission on
Research Ethics of the Institute of Psychology of the
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
(approval no. 2019).
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